Resilience, Russian style

Russia fights the cold war of winter

50 Years of Victory (what's in a name huh!)50 Years of Victory (what's in a name huh!)
For most of the now snow-free UK, it's back to work; so was the thaw evidence of global warming? However, over on EU Referendum Richard North keeps up the pressure, as well he should. For the climate scientists (as pure as the driven snow?) have a lot to answer for. Here we are in the age of cut backs so why did our airports and other transport systems come to a stop in the recent bad weather? Was it because the authorities sought to save money and so did not bother with all the snow clearing equipment? Or did they heed the predictions of the scientists about snow becoming unknown and feel the money would be better spent on other things, like diversity and equality projects?

The subject of resilience, (what a daft word! ) has been touched on HERE, but North takes things further by looking at how others cope in bad weather. The big subject of the moment relates to ice breakers, the class of ship used to keep trade routes open. These are operated by the countries with a geographical need to do so, Canada, USA, Finland and Russia being typical. It is Russia that has the most impressive ships, they are of the Arktika class and the one with the glorious name 'NS 50 Years Since Victory' is the largest of all at 28,540 tonnes. So how big is this? Well, Londoners will know the HMS Belfast, a WW2 light cruiser now moored at Tower Bridge, this is 11,784 tonnes and 613 foot long. The NS 50 Years Since Victory (shall we start calling it NS 50?) is shorter at 524 foot, thus the immense hull strength can be imagined. The Belfast hull is 4 1/2 inches thick and her sister ship HMS Sheffield was so badly damaged in an Atlantic winter storm during the war that it was forced to return to the UK for repairs. The NS 50 can break ice over 9 foot thick.
HMS Belfast 1939HMS Belfast 1939
So how long can a ship like the NS 50 keep this up? Well the Russians claim it has an 'endurance' of 4 years, but this might refer to its fuel stores. As on suitable days food could be delivered by helicopters we can imagine it could be at sea for as long as it takes; real resilience! Mind you, and don't tell Baroness Ashton late of CND, the NS 50 is nuclear powered. Also the Russians have no plans to build wind powered ice breaking ships. They don't plan to privatise this fleet either nor, should they make a mess of this work, does the head of this service expect to get an OBE of whatever the Russian equivalent is. Furthermore, the ships are designed and built in Russian ship yards and the crew is Russian too.

Recently the lattice structure of the Belfast that looks like a short version of an electricity pylon and carries flags radio and radar equipment, had rusted to the point it needed replacing. There was no shipyard in the UK able to do this work. However, as a gift in thanks for all the work done by HMS Belfast during the war, on the arctic convoys during the Battle of North Cape, the Russians built a replica in just a few weeks. So can we learn anything from all of this?